tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 18, 2012 2:00pm-4:00pm EST
"cnn newsroom" continues right now with don lemon in newtown, connecticut. don? hi, everyone. i'm brooke baldwin live at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. don lemon is standing by in newtown, connecticut, where we'll check in with him here momentarily. but the story this week, it just breaks your heart to see there, these funerals going on for these itty-bitty children here, two more young victims being laid to rest today. services for 6-year-old jessica rekos were held at st. rose of lima catholic church the in town. as her relatives grieve, they are also trying to help her brother travis understand why he can't play with his best friend. he wants to know where is his best friend. we found out jessica loved horses. she loved watching horse movies, drawing horses. apparently she asked santa claus this christmas for a new pair of
cow girl boots. also today, 6-year-old james mattioli was buried. the funeral held at st. rose of lima church there in newtown. the family posted a public obituary. they called him, quote, our beloved prince. they say james loved school and spent hours and hours playing hockey. students in newtown, they are back in school today. but to be clear, not the students of sandy hook elementary school. students at other schools, they are seeing more police, more counselors on hand, just being in town the last couple of days there are a lot of police officers just sitting in the driveways of a lot of the schools here, clearly security being beefed up in this town right now. teachers union says classes will discuss the shooting in age appropriate manner. it is not clear yet, though, when sandy hook elementary school will resume class.
but when they do, it will certainly be at a different school in the neighboring town of monroe. and i just got back from newtown this morning, and during dinner time last night, i was invited to spend some time with these two volunteer firefighters, they're with newtown hook and ladder and they went into emergency mode, of course, early last friday morning. they are rob mana and ray corbo. they served their community now for more than 20 years each. but the day they got that call, they say it was like nothing they had ever seen before. how long have you all been volunteering as firefighters? >> about 21 years. >> a little over 25. >> and where were you friday? >> i was working probably about 2,000 feet from the school, on a stone wall in business district in the center of sandy hook. so my response time was very quick. i was there very soon. >> so you were there. >> mm-hmm. >> did you have any idea what
you were walking into? >> no. >> not at all. matter of fact, we were just talking about that. we had a fire call a few minutes ago and we were talking about that on the way back. and you get the initial dispatch and you really don't know what you're coming into, but for the most part you're ready for it. and this time that's not the case. >> you're never ready for this. >> never. i don't think anybody -- anybody anywhere, if they tell you they were ready for something like this, they're not being honest with you. >> i don't want to get into specifics, but help us understand, in the school, were people panicked, were they screaming, were they running? what did you see? >> it was very chaotic and very emotional, probably the best way to describe it. >> kids emotional, teachers emotional. >> everybody was emotional. >> what were they saying. >> law enforcement was pretty emotional. it was everybody.
this is ake eaffected every sin person that was there, immediately. i shouldn't say immediately. very early on. it was determined that this was bad, really, really bad. >> and i also asked these two men about one moment over the last however many hours that really seared into their memories and they told me, as many people did, it was the parents, the parents friday morning, the parents waiting for their children, the children who would never come home. >> as the children were coming down the street, you know, little by little, classroom by classroom, however they were doing it, you know, all holding hands, parents were claiming their children. after a little while, once they claimed their kid, signed them out, i'm not sure how they worked it, but they left, the ones that didn't, you know, you noticed there is some that are still sticking around. and that's when you realize that
they're probably not going to be leaving. they're going to get the confirmation soon enough that, you know, they're not going to be grabbing their child and hugging them and taking them home. their life is changed forever. >> you realized that in that moment? >> yeah. that was something that, like i said, a couple of times we had to go back down to that staging area and, you know, you look around and you make sure there is nobody else in distress that might need our assistance, and you notice this -- parents been right there in the front of the line for two hours now, and there is no more kids around to take home and, you know, you know this is bad, they're not -- they're going to get some bad news. and i'm sure that they at that point knew it, but there is that shred of hope there is somebody
hiding in a closet or, you know, they missed, but ultimately that wasn't the case for any of them. >> and, you know, as it was tough for them to recall those moments, i do just want to let you know, we had a lighter moment at the beginning of the interview when they talked to me about something that is putting a smile on a lot of kids' faces in newtown this week. teddy bears by the truck loads, they told me. not just by the garbage bag load, the truck load, sent to them from fire and ems crews across the country from them to help out in newtown. you'll hear rob and ray talk to me about that and how that's helping them heal. that's next hour. and i know a lot of you are reaching out to us and asking how you can help the people affected in this sweet sleepy community in connecticut. and you can. so we have put a list of charitable organizations on our website. just go to cnn.com/impact. cnn.com/impact for more on that. we are getting new information here on the details of this investigation unraveling
as far as this computer that the shooter apparently smashed in his home before going out on this grim rampage on friday morning. deb feyerick is live for us there in newtown with more on that. deb, what are you learning? >> reporter: well, brooke, we can tell you investigators were here at the home for about an hour or so this afternoon. they pulled out just a little while ago. they have been returning to the house periodically as they get new leads and as they get wind of new developments. we don't know what exactly those are. we can tell you we have confirmed with the medical examiner that in fact toxicology tests were performed on adam lanza. those toxicology reports expected back in about two weeks and at that point, the doctors will know better whether he had any sort of drugs in his system. and what those drugs may have been. whether he may have been taking any sort of drugs for psychological problems, or any illegal medications as well. the medical examiner was told by investigators that lanza had
asperger's syndrome and the medical examiner is trying to really run that to the ground to see whether in fact there was something else that may have been going on, some other psychiatric problem that may have caused this violent spree. the bodies of adam lanza and his mother both of them autopsies were completed on that. the autopsy reports showing that nancy lanza was shot here, in her home, as she slept, in her bed, four times in the head. and then it appears that adam lanza tried to destroy his computer, destroy the evidence, the computer that investigators found was smashed into pieces. the hard drive badly damaged according to a law enforcement source. and they're having trouble trying to retrieve some of the information off of that. almost as if adam lanza was trying to erase his steps leading up to this crime. now, also, we're told the autopsy showed that after the horrible spree at the school, adam lanza took his own life, a single gunshot wound also to the
head. what is so interesting about all of this is that the mother, nancy lanza, was in charge of any unreimbursed psychiatric or psychological competences for her son. so, again, another indication that there was something more going on, that she was the one who was really trying to manage whatever it was he was wrestling with, the demons he was -- he appeared to be struggling with over the course of the last three years. and, you know, brooke what is so astonishing to me having covered a number of tragedies, terrible tragedies like this, is that adam lanza, the last three years of his life, they're basically a mystery to almost everybody. he seems to have disappeared after courses he took in 2009 at a local university, but after that, very little is known. the mother was trying to mainstream him, moving him from school to school, but the last three years, they really -- there is just -- there is so little information. it is really like any -- it is unlike any other sort of
shooting, shooting, tragedy that i've reported on. >> it is so bizarre he's such a mystery over the last couple of years. and talking to people in and around town, so many people so badly want to understand if there is any kind of connection between the shooter and the school. and so far, you know, so far as you're saying, nothing. i know investigators are working hard. deborah feyerick, thank you so much. we just have now -- >> the one thing -- >> deb, go ahead. jump back in. >> the one quick thing we want to clarify, again, this is also what is so fascinating, you would think it would be as easy as going to the school records and saying, yes, of course he was here, the school has not been able to confirm that, officials haven't been able to confirm it. a woman we spoke to here in town says her daughter and adam lanza were classmates at sandy hook elementary in the first and third grades. so even that is sort of this -- sort of little mystery we can't kind of check off to know why he targeted that school. we can tell you, this is kind of important, a little bit sad, this morning, you know, from this house, here is the house, school buses kept passing this
house, they were picking up children and we do know, brooke, that at least two of the children who died, they live really within -- less than half a mile from the house. those school buses, those children that were very much part of this neighborhood, wehee adam lanza was living -- >> passing by the crime scene tape, how do you explain? tough for parents right now. deb feyerick, thank you very much. this news just in to us at cnn, talking about the students at sandy hook elementary school. we're now learning here from the superintendent of schools that these little kids will not be going back to class until after the holidays. people are wondering if it would be before or after, after the holiday break. let me quote part of this letter. the superintendent there in newtown says, quote, we need to tend to our teachers and students need to feel comfortable after this trauma in this new place. she goes on to say, quote, teachers may be calling you to invite you to visit chalk hill with your child this week, to walk around, and see the
classroom and get familiar with this new sandy hook home. that's where they'll be headed, of course, after holiday break. tough time for so many people there in this town. and with just two weeks left here, totally switching gears, we'll take you back to newtown, live, in a moment. but with two weeks left before the fiscal cliff deadline, john boehner has come up with a plan b. details on that plan next. questions? anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'. it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪
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here so we can all understand where we stand. so this time yesterday we were reporting a major concession on the part of house speaker john boehner. his very first offer of higher tax rates, higher rates for anyone making more than a million bucks a year. well, quick as a whip here, the president gave some as well. he moved his bar for the tax hike from incomes starting at a quarter million dollars, that with a his earlier stance, to incomes beginning a bit higher at $400,000 a year. the president also offering significant spending cuts, including cuts in social security payments to better off seniors, plus a promise of health savings further down the road. i know, i know it is a lot to follow. bottom line, though, things seem to be moving along, perhaps in the right direction. but then boehner tossed a curveball here. for that, let's go to senior congressional correspondent dana bash who will walk me through this here. let's hold off if you would on the boehner plan b. tell me, first, just what the speaker said today about the
president's latest offer, because a lot of democrats seem to think that the president gave more than he actually should have. >> reporter: oh, absolutely. a lot of democrats think that, particularly not just on spending cuts, but the kind of spending cuts. i heard from democratic source that the president's liaison here got an earful from progressive democrats in a meeting this morning for giving on the whole issue of -- a technical change, which would effectively make people's social security checks smaller. but bottom line from the republican point of view, they say, the speaker told his caucus this morning, that the president is not giving enough when it comes to spending cuts and when it comes to revenue. that he wants a virtual one to one ratio and the way they do the math, the republicans do the math, they say they don't think they're getting that. that's why he's pushing this plan b. >> so walk me through plan b and why. >> reporter: plan b is the speaker will try to craft legislation that they hope to put on the floor as soon as this
thursday, so in two days, which would keep tax cuts where they are for everybody making up to $1 million a year. households making up to $1 million a year. why is he doing that? the reason is because it is a tactical move. he and the republicans want to try to push the president to give more on those spending cut s, to give -- to force the republicans to give less, so to speak, on tax revenue. so it is definitely a tactical move. the democrats are laughing it off, literally. i've heard from democratic sources that it is more of a punchli line than a compromise. it is unclear fill is it republicans can get the votes in the house and we're told that -- i'm told by republican sources they're going to have yet another meeting later today at 5:00 eastern of house republicans to try to, what they call, whip the votes to make sure they have the votes for this there is probably going to be a series of votes on thursday, but they're not sure of that. you talk about the senate, where it has to go next, democrats who run the senate there say they
just simply don't think it is going to pass. we're going to see a lot of to'ing and fro'ing and vote taking and at the end of the day, for political reasons, nothing more. >> so punch line, compromise. one thing we can agree on, 14 days, 14 days. quickly, dana, 30 seconds, what happens next? >> reporter: boy, your guess is as good as mine. i just saw something for the first time in my e-mail that said merry cliffmas. >> don't let that joke begin. no! okay. >> reporter: if it weren't so sad, we would be laugh, but we're not. >> merry cliffmas. let's have a deal. thanks so much. we'll check back in with you. as we mentioned, we'll continue on with the other stories of the day. also continue following the aftermath of the horrendous shootings in newtown, connecticut. don lemon will join me from newtown after this quick break. ♪
and i'm brooke baldwin at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta, joined by my colleague there in newtown, still flanked by so many people there in newtown. it is amazing, being there, not only the people from within town walking around and placing the teddy bears and petting the dogs in town to make the kids feel bet, people are coming from counties away. i saw somewhere there from brazil. it is tremendous. >> yeah. someone from -- i saw someone from alabama and, you know, brooke, there is media from everywhere, all over the world. look how this -- you've seen this memorial here. look how -- it is a makeshift
memorial that sprouted up saturday. when you and i first got here it was just candles, a couple of candles and people started bringing more, teddy bears and teddy bears. come over here. this is wendy and philip. you guys are from new brunswick, new jersey. you have a bunch of teddy bears you collected. who did you collect them from? >> mostly friends. >> a box full of teddy bears and she's got a bag full of teddy bears as well and in both hands and there are some teddy bears out here that are just plain and not covered. some like this one covered in plastic as they're trying to preserve them. but, again, everyone has been coming out. i'll show you, even people just -- i showed you earlier on saturday night, when they first got here, comfort dogs. these dogs are just from the community. they're spencer's dogs. >> from reading. >> he came from reading to bring them. this is miss bonita and mr. big. >> correct. >> you've been giving the children rides on the dogs. >> smiles, rides, any type of laughter we can bring to them. they get a kick out of it. >> why did you do it?
>> because being a neighbor to this community, you feel helpless, you got to help in any way you can. >> who's a good boy? they're so cute and cuddly. and the kids get on and ride them. what happens? >> they just laugh and giggle. >> yeah. yeah. and it is the first smile. every time -- the first time i saw a dog here, they were the first smiles i saw on anyone's faces. >> absolutely. it starts with making eye contact after seeing the dogs and the smiles happen and then -- >> hey. yeah. you can't help but smile when you see these guys and they're so nice, everybody's petting them. i want to remind the viewers about what is going on here. there are people like spencer and there are people like philip and wendy coming to help out. i want to say the kids at newtown schools, they have gotten back to school, but not the sandy hook schools. not sure when the sandy hook schools will go back, but they're going to see extra counselors, extra police officers on hand at schools today and until they go break for the christmas holidays. and also the teachers union here says they're going to have people to talk to the students, but only when it is age
appropriate that they'll talk to them. but, again, not exactly sure when the sandy hook students will go back. wasn't i want to bring in wendy terrell, an author of a children's book and your book is called "guardian of dreams," right? >> yes. >> why is this a good resource for kids. show the book. >> it is a good resource for kids because it was written after 9/11 when children were having a lot of nightmares. and given what happened here today, there is going to be a lot of kids who are going to be dealing with that issue in volume again. >> you said kids who have dealt with a lot of trauma in their lives and that was the impetus behind this. that's why you did it. >> absolutely. >> you find it helps. >> yes, i have. i've gotten a lot of feedback from counselors and parents who used the book to help their children deal with their issues and disappear that nightmare way and create another image in its place. >> you're a former new york city police officer? >> that's correct. >> how did you prepare when you were a police officer for traumatic events like this? because, brooke baldwin has been talking to the rescuers and they
are very emotional. they can't believe what they saw. so how did you prepare when you were doing that? >> it is not really something you can prepare for. and really it is the -- it is in the moment. you really don't have that opportunity to deal -- to express your emotions at that -- in that moment in time. it is only afterwards really you have a chance to process it. >> i understand that yesterday you met with grief counselors at various schools. >> at the grieving center, yes. >> at the grieving center. tell us about that. >> basically i donated some books there so they had the opportunity to use that with the kids in being able to, as a tool for them to use the book that can help them cope with what's been going on. >> it is important to be here because -- >> it is important to be here. it is important, i think, to find out how you can contribute in a way that is going to be helpful to the community here. >> let's see the book. open it up a little bit. is it pictures or stories or what do you have? >> it is a -- a picture story.
and it is a story about a rabbit who wakes up from a nightmare. >> yeah. >> and the nightmare being a female horse. so it is a play. helps you to disappear the nightmare away. >> any resource that children can get at this point is important. thank you, wendy terrell. >> thank you. >> we appreciate it. thank you, spencer. all the folks who are here. brooke, you've been here. it's amazing. i was sitting having lunch a moment ago and someone walked in just with a box of these, printed them, says we are sandy hook, we choose love. and every single person in that restaurant said i want one for my school. i want one for my business. i want one to put in the window of my home. and that's what they're doing here. they're choosing love instead of having the community be remembered for this horrible event, brooke. >> yeah. it is quite something to watch on tv, but to be there in person, and see the memorials, talk to the people, it's stunning. it's gut wrenching. don lemon, we'll come back to you momentarily. part of this story, we have to talk about gun control. the debate rages once again.
if you look at some of these pro gun rights folks, nra, facebook, crickets have deactivated their facebook site, no tweets. not a lot from them the last couple of days. and we learned according to forbes, we'll have this conversation up next, the bushmaster rifle, a military-style rifle that the shooter used on friday, teachers may have been indirectly giving to this company that makes this rifle. that's next. and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news. i'm going to dream about that steak. i'm going to dream about that tiramisu. what a night, huh? but, um, can the test drive be over now? head back to the dealership? [ male announcer ] it's practically yours. but we still need your signature. volkswagen sign then drive is back. and it's never been easier to get a passat. that's the power
has been silent since before friday's shootings. we have gone to the facebook page, it has been deactivated, no new tweets from the nra, no new postings on its website, but the group's critics, they are speaking out. >> shame on the nra. shame on the nra. >> the nra known for its powerful d.c. lobbying operation, you see everyone out and about, this was yesterday, this is right on capitol hill. demonstrators marched outside the offices there, chanting shame on the nra. texas governor rick perry, however, he is speaking out at a tea party event. he came down in favor of the right to carry a legally purchased concealed weapon, just about anywhere in texas, including in schools. >> if you go through the process and you have been dually backgrounded and trained and you are a concealed handgun licensed
carrying individual, you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state. >> still, no official word as far as what actions the president may be taking here. but we know the president met monday with top aides, multiple cabinet members including the education secretary and the attorney general. now, there is a company, don, i want you to talk about here, that apparently makes this rifle, this bushmaster rifle, it is owned by a private investment group. what is the story here? >> well, brooke, the private investment group is called serbrus. they said they're going to sell that weapons company. but now the california teachers retirement system is a big investor in that fund and making them an indirect investor in the maker of bushmaster rifles. you can imagine there is a bit of an issue here. i want to go to don primac of fortune. he broke this story. dan, how did this -- the california teachers union become
involved in this sort of investment thing with a company that makes bushmaster rifle? >> the california teachers pension, the largest pension for public school teachers in america, it invests a lot in private equity funds that do everything from health care to retail to manufacturing. serbrus is a diversified funds. those funds invested in freedom group or created freedom group, they bought bushmaster and started adding on, adding on to make what is currently the largest u.s. gun manufacturer. >> so, dan, is this like when you invest in your 401(k) or whatever, whatever investment you might have, and it is in a mutual fund and you don't know which companies are in that mutual fund. is that how it is or did they have direct knowledge that this company was a maker of these rifles? >> no, it is different. first of all, it is different because of the long-term investment. unlike your 401(k), if you wanted to pull your money out, you can't. once you're in, you're in,
unless you did a private sale with someone else. but they know what's in it. these are large transactions, and for callisters which committed $500 million to one of these funds they don't give a $500 million check up front. they say we'll give you this money and every time they do a deal, it asks for a piece of the money to do the deal, in the case of freedom group, they would have asked for money to do bushmaster and so on. plus, freedom group filed to go public in 2009. callisters would have known about that and gotten quarterly updates from the firm. >> so, dan, let me ask you, why is cerberus selling the company that makes the guns and the ammunition? >> they haven't exactly explained it. they put out a state this morning saying they feel what happened in newtown, is a, quote, their term, a water shed event and caused them to reconsider. it is not an investment decision. in all my time covering private equity, this is the first time i believe i've seen a private equity firm decide to sell a company, a large company, for something other than investment.
because clearly this is not a good time to sell a gun company. they clearly believe that whether it is from pressure from investors like the teachers pension, which apparently called cerberus yesterday afternoon after our original report or other investors, they're getting pressure on this fund and they're probably concerned they won't be able to raise more money in the future from these pensions and these endowments if they don't do something here. plus, one final thing, the founder and ceo, steve feinberg, his father happens to live in newtown. >> dan primack of fortune broke this story. thank you very much. if you get new information, follow up with us. we appreciate it. brooke, a lot of people will be checking to see if -- i'm sure if they have investments in these companies and as you said, not a good time now to have -- to be a company that makes guns, especially automatic weapons. and, you know, ammunitions companies as well. we'll be following up on this story, these stories a lot, i'm sure. >> different vain, i know something a lot of the crews in
newtown are seeing are hearses drive through town and there is this tough gut wrenching task of burying these children, the 6 and 7-year-olds. coming up next, i talk to the first responders in newtown who helping protect these families, who want privacy at the cemeteries. we're respecting the privacy, but i spoke to these two guys last night about the who process, this very difficult process of burying these children. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ breathes deeply ] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth! we were going through so much of the bargain detergent. and the clothes didn't look as good. but since we switched to tide we use much less. an amazing clean for all three
two wonderful volunteer firefighters in newtown at hook and ladder, one of whom is the father of a first grader, and they shared with me just a little bit of what they have seen and experienced in the last 24 hours. >> how do you describe the funeral of a 6 and 7-year-old? >> it's rough. it's rough. look how sad a funeral is when it is an elderly person. this is somebody that's not yet to that point. >> are you angry or more sad? >> that's a good question. if you ask my wife, i'm angry. i think i'm pretty sad. this is devastating. but according to her, i'm pretty angry right now. >> what do you go home at night and tell her? >> i tell her i love her. she actually works in the school system, so she knew early on that there was something going on too when they went into lockdown and the other school. >> he also told me about his first grader who doesn't go to
sandy hook, but who he saw on saturday, and would not let go. i know a lot of you are wondering how you can help the people who are affected by this horrendous tragedy in newtown. you can. we have put a list of charitable organizations on our website. all you have to do is go to cnn.com/impact. cnn.com/impact for ways you can help. don, i know it is amazing watching the outpouring, you know. you're there at the memorial. there are multiple memorials in and around newtown. people mailing packages and letters and wreaths, just trying -- just sort of -- just showing they care. >> yeah, absolutely, brooke. as you know, you've seen it, 26 of everything. 26 cannedles. 26 teddy bears. 26 pieces of candy here. 26 pieces of little candelabras, people buy nflowers with 26 flowers in them. just before we went to break,
you were talking about the funerals that are being had and sadly this is the reality of it. as i drove in here today, to come to this story, i passed a funeral procession. all the cars in my lane pulled over and watched the funeral procession go by in the opposite way and you see the blank stares of the faces of the people inside those cars. and as we were standing here as well, another funeral procession went by and my producer and i looked up and i hate to say this, you can see, right raylynn, a white casket, tiny casket in the back. reality is setting in for these folks who were just about to have a christmas and now they're having to deal with laying their loved ones to rest. and the man responsible for doing all of it, 20 years old, 20 years old, we're finding new information about him from the people who knew him. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health
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richard engle, the chief foreign correspondent for nbc news and his production crew, they are free today after being held for five days inside syria. engle spoke with reporters in turkey shortly after he and his team escaped dure, a deadly fire fight between their kidnappers and syrian rebels. take a listen to this. >> the last five days were very difficult. we're very happy to be out. we're very happy to be back in turkey. we love being here. we love this country. and we appreciate all the help. the last five days are some days that we would rather forget. >> they would like to forget them. we can tell you that engle and his team vanished thursday after crossing into northwest syria from turkey. and though no one claimed responsibility for this
kidnapping, engle said he thinks his captors were part of this militia loyal to syrian president bashar al assad, and trained by iran's revolutionary guard. he also said they planned to trade the journalists for hostages held by syrian rebels. engle spoke again today about the ordeal. >> they took us to a series of safe houses and interrogation places, and they kept us blindfolded, bound. we weren't physically beaten or tortured. it was a lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed, they made us choose which one of us would be shot first. and when we refused, there were mock shootings. they pretended to shoot gazy several times and when you're blindfolded, and told -- and then they fired the gun up in the air. it can be very traumatic experience. and at the end of this, we were being moved to yet another
location in the -- around 11:00 last night, local time. and as we were moving along the road, the kidnappers came across a rebel checkpoint. something they hadn't expected. and so we were in the back of, like, when you think of as a minivan, and as we were driving along the road, the kidnappers saw this checkpoint, started a gunfight with it, two of the kidnappers were killed. we climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us, we spent the night with them, we didn't get much sleep. >> again, richard engle speaking out today. cnn wants you to know, we got word last thursday night that richard engle and his team were missing. nbc news asked us not to report the news and, of course, we complied with that request. cnn has complied with such requests before and likely will again. oftentimes in first couple of days after a noncombatant goes missing, be it a journalist, a member of a nongovernment organization or a company
employee, cnn is asked, as are other news organizations, to delay reporting the story. the reason is so that fact finding and negotiations to free them can take place before their capture becomes a worldwide news event. hostage negotiators say that once the global spotlight is on the missing, the hostages value -- the value of these men and women making it much, much more difficult to negotiate their freedom. hawaii and the rest of the nation remember a gentle giant of the u.s. senate. >> with a heavy heart, it bid aloha, aloha to my good friend, colleague and brother, daniel inou inouye. >> you will be excused if you didn't know that before his death yesterday. hawaii's daniel inouye ranked third in the line of
presidential succession. he was the senate pro tem, the senior member of the senate's majority party, having served 50 years during his half century in office. inouye made many, many friends, lots happen. but made remarkably little noise. initially barred from serving in world war ii because of his japanese roots, he petitioned to get himself into the army, wound up losing an arm, fought with such distinction that he earned the medal of honor. he was first elected to congress back in 1959, the year hawaii became a state. and earned such respect he was named to committee that investigated watergate, investigated the iran/contra, also rose to the top of the powerful senate appropriations committee, which helped him steer federal dollars to his beloved hawaii. he died of respiratory failure. his office says his final word was, aloha. and back to newtown, connecticut. don lemon standing by. hey, don. >> hey, brooke.
want to show you some things that are going on here. some ladies showed up and they're putting candles in the dirt, sticking them down in the ground. people are writing cards as well as they drop off teddy bears. here is one to catherine hubbard, one of the victims, one for emilie parker. i can see inside, without even opening it, i can see there say snowman on it, a christmas card for them. one for benjamin wheeler as well. one of the victims as well. and there is also -- more things in there, not exactly sure what it is and i'm not the one to open it up. i'm sure all of this, if the rain doesn't take it way, will be given to the family members of the victims in time, in time. because it is going to take a while before they can even be able to accept and receive all of this. we're going to have more from newtown and with my colleague as well, brooke baldwin, back in atlanta, right after this break.
ally bank. why they have a raise your rate cd. tonight our guest, thomas sargent. nobel laureate in economics, and one of the most cited economists in the world. professor sargent, can you tell me what cd rates will be in two years? no. if he can't, no one can. that's why ally has a raise your rate cd. ally bank. your money needs an ally.
we're talking about getting the most from your money. we all want to do that. with me this hour, lynette c calfawny cox and david novak. >> what do i have to do to get 10% on my money? >> wouldn't we all like to know? wouldn't we all like to know? >> tall order. i'll be nice. you have to have realistic expectations, so far. i saw he was an elderly gentleman. if you're used to getting a couple of percentage points, you have to take on more risk. there is no way to do that. and it is not guaranteed. look at things like stocks, growth stocks, mutual funds are an option, of course. but recognize there really is a trade-off between risk and reward. the higher the returns that you want to generate, 10% is pretty high in this market, the more risk you have to be willing to
take on. >> maybe he'll get 10% on 25% of his investments and be conservative with the rest. >> right. >> that's an option. the other thing you need to be careful about is if he really wants to be aggressive and invest in stocks, he needs to understand that it is something that has to be for the long-term. and that he needs to hold it and understand that maybe going up and down a bit in a given year, if he's comfortable with that, it is possible to get closer to what he wants. if he's not, it is probably not likely. >> appreciate it. if you have a question you want our experts to tackle, upload a 30-second video with your question to ireport.com.
responsible for this, the shooter, we're learning new information about him. and cnn's susan candiotti spoke with one of his former classmates. >> reporter: among the steady stream of people drawn to this memorial honoring victims, a former schoolmate of the alleged killer. when you think of this, does your mind go to your friend? >> obviously it does because, you know, he's a very big part in this event. i'm not really sure what to think of it. >> reporter: sadly he's the reason for it. >> yeah. >> reporter: alan diaz may have been as close as anyone could come to being a friend of adam lanza when he was a sophomore at newtown high school and diaz was a freshman in 2008. >> a very intelligent person, he really was. the way he acted around other people was just very withdrawn and really quiet. >> reporter: a little different? >> yeah. >> reporter: they were in the high school tech club together,
spent a lot of time on computers. adam had his own style of dressing. >> he had the stereotypical nerd look, like, khaki pants, belt, tucked in shirt, even had a little computer case, like a brief case instead of a backpack like everyone else. he even had a little pocket protector he had pens in. >> reporter: he doesn't know whether lanza was bullied. he kept to himself. >> we all kind of knew that, like, you know, he had problems socially. and we kind of had a feeling that there might have been something wrong with him, but we never asked, never thought it was our place to do so. >> reporter: back then his schoolmate's mom once invited all his friends to the house to play video games. one was star craft, kind of a war games in space. another was war craft 3, where as the ad says, survival is a matter of strategy. >> the burning shadow comes to consume us all.
>> war craft 3 was really fun. so, you know, he was really into games and if i recall he actually picked up on star craft really quickly. >> reporter: when lanza left high school and was home schooled, diaz lost touch. but he ran into lanza's mother nancy about two years ago. >> i remember her, like, mentioning that he started going to the shooting range with her and my initial response to that was, i never really imagined adam one to ever even hold a gun. >> reporter: why do you say that? >> i don't know. maybe because in my mind i don't imagine shy, quiet people, you know, going to a shooting range. i never really can make that association. >> reporter: investigators are tracking how often lanza had been to gun ranges. they don't yet know how many so far. they have proven he's been to target practice about six months ago. and for several years mother and son went at least once together. alan's older sister went to school with the shooter's older brother. and she was friends with her
mother who went to her bridal shower last year. >> why her? she was just -- it was a shock. she was always a happy person. >> reporter: do you now think of him as an evil person? because of what he did? >> at one point he was a good kid. the events that he did that day may have been evil, but before then, he was just another kid. >> reporter: until something made him snap. susan candiotti, cnn, newtown, connecticut. >> all right, susan. and, brooke, you know, people, the more they hear about the shooter, the more details, even us, we still don't understand why. before i go back to you in atlanta, i want to say you saw this, brooke, people just walking up to us and you walked up to us.
tell me your name. >> jamie. >> you're overcome. how long have you been out here? >> i've been out here all day. just trying to leave a little something at each memorial for the kids. and for the victims. >> yeah. what did you want to say to us? >> i just -- i just can't believe that this kind of a tragedy could happen. and just walking through the town, i mean, everything is so beautiful. and there is so much love here. but it's so hard. and i have friends that live here. and thank god their kids are okay. but this is just mind blowing. and the most that i can do is just come down and show support for anybody who needs anything. >> well, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. we appreciate the love you're showing for everyone. >> thank you so much. thank you. god bless you guys. you're doing a wonderful job. >> thank you very much. we'll be right back.
top of the hour here, live on cnn. good to be with you. i'm brooke baldwin live at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. my colleague there, don lemon, in the midst of newtown, connecticut, where, today, two more young victims are being laid to rest. services for 6-year-old jessica rekos were held at st. rose of lima catholic church as her relatives grieve, they're also trying to help her baby brother travis understand why he can't play with his best friend anymore. her family says she loved everything horses. horse movies, drawing horses, apparently asked santa claus for a new pair of cow girl boots this upcoming christmas. also today, 6-year-old james mattioli was buried. that funeral also held at st. rose of lima church there in newtown. the family posted a public obituary on the funeral home's website calling him, quote, our beloved prince. they say james loved school,
spent hours and hours playing hockey. and these are just two of the 20 little lives lost friday morning. don lemon, i know you and many of the crew watching some of the e-mail traffic talking about how difficult it is being in town, watching the hearses passing by and seeing the teeny tiny caskets inside. >> yeah. it is really -- it is really sad, brooke. i have friends here, they don't realize i'm on television, they're coming up and talking to me. and they can. you guys can interrupt me anytime. you're patty. >> right. >> and you're jessy. where are you from? >> fairfield? >> fairfield. you're out here because -- >> i attend a church from where a lot of people from newtown go and one of my best friend's granddaughters is in the first grade at sandy hook. >> and they're getting off my microphone but they walked up to me and talked to me and anybody can, doesn't matter if we're on television. thank you for coming out. bless you. we have been here, of course, for a couple of days, brooke. and we saw this memorial, just
grow tremendously here. it just started just over there way couple of candles and now it has grown so far, police have to direct traffic here. and there are layers upon layers of teddy bears and flowers and candles and cards. and most people are bringing 26 of every single thing. and it doesn't matter the cost. doesn't matter. they're bringing expensive teddy bears, expensive flower arrangements, expensive candles, these candles that are solar that are here. and they just want to come out and show their support. i want to tell you about the school system here. they are not going to be in school at least the folks who are in sandy hook, they're not going to be in school, newtown schools went back today. the kids who did go back in the other school districts, they're going to be seeing more counselors, more police officers on hand, and also the teachers union here saying they're going to talk to the kids with counselors, of course, and it is going to be age appropriate. but i want to bring in our kate bolduan, she's been checking up on the schools. you found new information. they're not going back until january. what other things are you finding out? >> we have obtained this letter
from newtown school officials to family and staff informing them, there was a lot of questions of when the children in sandy hook would be brought back to class and it is informing them, finally, a definitive thing, they will not be going back until january after the holiday, which the holiday was set to begin on friday. but meantime, this may be one of the movie vans we're seeing behind us right here that was taking all the materials from sandy hook to move to the new facility. >> you're probably right. >> they're moving entire classrooms in these vans over to this new facility because they want to replicate it as close as possible to exactly what this -- to make it comfortable for the sandy hook students and where the trucks are going, six miles away, to monroe. and they're working around the clock to get ready. truck loads filled with everything from desks to bulletin boards leaving sandy hook elementary, heading here to the neighboring town of monroe. book cases, desks.
>> that's the students' materials, the backpacks they left. when the children come in, whenever the school is started, they will walk into a classroom that looked as close as possible as their classroom that they left. >> reporter: steve vavrik is the town's chief executive. when he heard about the horror at sandy hook, he offered up chalk hill middle school. it is empty because it closed recently. he met with some of the students and teachers at sunday's vigil. >> most of them were thankful they had a place to go back to work. the children and the teachers were -- it was emotional. >> reporter: all day contractors from around the region donated their time to transform this former middle school into an elementary school. >> just to give you a sense, i mean, the toilets all have to be replaced to a smaller size. you know, things have to be made accessible, towel dispensers, things like that, lowered.
>> reporter: this is monroe's school superintendent. why is it important to get the students of sandy hook into a building like chalk hill and back in their classroom? >> well, that's exactly the sense of normalcy that they need to begin the healing process. and to feel safe and protected and to get back into a routine. >> reporter: one change every parent will notice at schools across the area after sandy hook, police patrols. is that a protective measure? is that the new normal? or is that more a way to help families and students alleviate some anxiety as they return to class? >> all of the above. all of the above. unfortunately it may be the new normal. it may be the way we have to take action in the future. >> so, kate, when is the school going to be ready? do we know? >> that's been a question as well. we spoke with the fire marshal for an update. originally yesterday they believed the building could be ready as early as today. and then up to newtown school officials when they're ready to
start classes. but the update is they're still working on getting the building recertified, getting things like fire alarms, door locks, sprinkler systems updated to be ready for the kids. and the building will be ready more likely toward later in the week but we know when their start date is, the building will be ready for sandy hook at the beginning of the year. >> let's step out here and talk and let the photographer go over. you can see -- look at the expensive arrangements and some monks here on the scene. we'll see more people show up because they're coming from work. in a moment of transparency, it has been nothing nearly as tough as what the families are dealing with here. but our colleague, wolf blitzer, such an amazing man, he knew this was very stressful for all of us. took us to different last night. we were at dinner and we were talking just about how tough it is seeing these families and even the rescue workers. as you've been around town today and the funerals started yesterday, and two today, what has been your biggest
impression? >> my biggest impression the entire time we have been ere, you see it here and you saw the memorial started as small memorial to the victims, and look what it has grown into. an entire block at this point. it continues to grow. my big impression as we have been here and i'm honored to be here with this community is how close the community is. i've heard more and more often than not that sandy hook, the town, does not want to be remembered as the tragedy. they want to be remembered as the community that came together and their strength and they fought back against the evil and the tragedy and they were together and they became stronger and healed all together for it. >> i have to tell you, you know, it has been real. we have been saying -- i've been on the verge of tears and cried privately. but today, as i was coming in, i told our viewers earlier, i passed a funeral procession. and had to pull over and stop. i was on the phone with one of the producers and i just stopped and put phone down and see the faces of the people inside of the cars in the funeral
procession. standing here earlier in the back, i know is terrible to say, but just a little white casket and you realize how -- it is unfathomable. >> and you realize that at various different steps, it hit me when i saw a mother and her child in a cafe and saw this small child, the same age as the kids that were in the classroom, and when you see those small, small caskets, it is, you know, it is one reminder after another of just how horrific and we heard it on air, we heard it from everyone we talked to, there are no words and that is the truth. >> yeah. brooke, i'm sure the same sentiment as you're walking around, brooke, you had a very moving piece with some of the rescue workers and you see these, as i've been saying, these big lug of a guy will come up to you and say, oh, my god, and barely get their words out and they start crying. >> a lot of them don't want to talk about it right now. i'm not going to force words out of them right now. it is difficult for them. i flew back this morning, spent dinner time with two volunteer firefighters actually who, you know, friday morning, they were
in their day job mode, heard what happened, call came in and went into firefighter mode. rob and ray. they served the community in newtown for more than 20 years each. but the morning they got the call, they said nothing, nothing, nothing could have prepared them for what they saw. how long have you all been volunteering as firefighters? >> i've got 21 years in. >> almost 25. >> and where were you friday? >> i was working probably about 2,000 feet from the school, on a stone wall, in the business district in the center of sandy hook. so my response time was very quick. i was there very soon. >> so you were there. >> mm-hmm. >> did you have any idea what you were walking into? >> no. >> not at all. matter of fact, we were just talking about that, we had a fire call a few minutes ago, and we were talking about that on the way back, and we were -- you
get the initiadispatch and you really don't know what you're coming into. but for the most part, you're ready for it. and this time, that's not the case. >> you're never ready for this. >> no. nobody -- i don't think anybody, anybody anywhere, if they tell you they're ready for something like this, they're not being honest with you. >> don't want to get into specifics, but help us understand in the school, were people panicked, were they screaming, were they running? what did you see? >> very chaotic and very emotional probably the best way to describe it. >> kids emotional. teachers emotional. >> everybody was emotional. >> what were they saying? >> the law enforcement was pretty emotional. it was everybody. this affected every single person that was there. immediately. it was, you know, it was -- i shouldn't say immediately, very early on. it was determined that this was bad, really, really bad. >> i asked them about a couple
of things and one thing i asked is what was that one moment that is really seared into their memories and they told me, like so many people did, it is the parents. it was the parents, the moms and dads waiting friday morning, waiting for their children, the children who would not be coming home. >> as the children were coming down the street, little by little, classroom by classroom, however they were doing it, all holding hands, parents were claiming, you know, their children. after a little while, once they claimed their kid and signed them out, i'm not exactly sure how they worked it, but they left. the ones that didn't, you know, you noticed there is some that are still sticking around. and that's when you realized they're probably not going to be leaving. they're going to get the confirmation soon enough that, you know, they're not going to be grabbing their child and hugging them and taking them
home. their life has changed forever. >> you realized that in that moment? >> yeah. that was something that, like i said, a couple of times, we had to go back down to that staging area and, you know, you look around and you make sure there is nobody else in distress, that might need assistance, and you notice this, you know, parents and right there in the front of the line for two hours now, and there is no more kids around to take home. and, you know, you know this is bad. they're going to get some bad news. and i'm sure that they at that point knew it, but there is that shred of hope that there is somebody hiding in a closet or, you know, they missed. but ultimately that wasn't the case. >> so much of the interview took on such a somber tone, but a little later in the hour, i have something that will make you smile.
i promise. because they were joking as firefighters try to use humor, right, to cope, they were talking about how part of their job description is delivering truck loads of teddy bears thanks to firehouses across the country. we'll share that moment in the interview with you in a matter of minutes. a lot of you are wondering how can you help? how can you help the people affected in newtown? you can. cnn has basically compiled this list of charitable organizations, so all you have to do is go to this website, go to cnn.com/impact and you too can help. don lemon, back to you in newtown. >> hey, brooke. you and i have been talking about guns and gunmakers. gunmakers stocks are plummeting today, tumbling as big retailer are pulling rifles off the shelves. we'll go to the new york stock exchange after this break. [ male announcer ] red lobster's crabfest ends soon. hurry in and try five succulent entrees, like our tender snow crab
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[ male announcer ] when diarrhea hits, kaopectate stops it fast. powerful liquid relief speeds to the source. fast. [ male announcer ] stop the uh-oh fast with kaopectate. the newest chapter in the old debate over guns just getting started. today in washington we heard more voices speaking out here. the brady campaign to prevent gun violence, they held a news conference featuring families who lost loved ones in mass shootings, including the father who lost his son at columbine high school. >> these people here before you, because they refuse to be statistics. they want to be the stories, the stories of ordinary americans who have been through the -- they have been through hell and back. and they don't want it to happen to the rest of you. >> at the u.s. capital, republican lawmaker came out of
a meeting with house speaker john boehner, said he is ready for serious discussions on guns. >> the speaker said, look, this is -- this is an obviously horrible event that touched everyone in the country and certainly devastated the community. we need to be respectful. we need to be diplomatic in our remarks, remarks like, well, we should just arm the principals and teachers are probably not appropriate. and that we're going to have to next year engage in a discussion about what is appropriate. >> included here today, texas governor rick perry, he's weighing in on all of this at a tea party event just yesterday. he came down in favor of the right to carry a legally purchased concealed weapon throughout the state of texas. take a listen. >> if you go through the process, and you have been dually backgrounded and trained and you are a concealed handgun
licensed carrying individual, you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state. >> we're learning today that the investors who own the company that makes that bushmaster rifle used in connecticut, they want to dump their investment. this is an unusual move in a highly profitable industry where public opinion rarely affects business decisions. christine romans, let me bring you in here. and just tell me why this -- why doesn't bushmaster's parent company, why don't they want to own this gunmaker anymore? >> they say this is a water shed event and there will be a difference in the way the nation feels about the gunmakers. private equity investors will sell the company. bushmaster manufactured that gun used to kill the teachers and children in connecticut and now it says, it is apparent that the sandy hook tragedy was a water shed event that raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level. it is not our role to take positions or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy
debate, there are, however, actions that we as a firm can take. let me tell you this, brooke, making guns and ammunition is quite profitable. bushmaster's parent company is a collection of ten gun and ammo makers, earned $232 million profit last year. these are the fastest growing parts of the gun market and, by the way, the rifles that bushmaster makes, they're also the preferred weapon of mexican drug cartels. one of the preferred weapons. it is rare for a private equity to dump out of an investment like this, brooke, but today, cerberus is saying they will sell bushmaster, the parent company that made that gun. >> this is the military-style rifle, one of several that the shooter had friday, killing the students, killing the teachers and in a twist here, it turns out the california teachers, they're investors in bushmaster, right? >> that's right. it is true. the california state teachers retirement system invested millions of dollars in cerberus.
cerberus formed freedom group, the group of ten companies including bushmaster, other ammo and accessorymakers too, vest makers, that means look at the flow of money. that means california teachers retirement fund own 2zs 2.4% ofe freedom group. they're reviewing that investment, california is reviewing that investment, the california treasurer wants to make sure there are no public sector workers money that is sitting there in investments in guns. but, clearly, the optics of a teachers retirement fund investing in a company that makes a product that was used to kill students and teachers, the optics are pretty difficult. we're also told right now as well that the new york comptr l comptroller, new york state has investments in the gunmaker sturm and luger.
>> christine romans, thank you so much for us in new york. back to newtown, connecticut, and don lemon. don? >> thank you very much, brooke. you know, two of the biggest retailers, biggest retailers reacting by pulling some of their guns off the shelves and off their websites as well. i'm sure that's affecting stocks. to alison kosik at the new york stock exchange. what's going on? >> we're talking about dick's sporting goods. it is removing -- it removed all the guns from its store that is closest to newtown where you are. and it is suspending the sale of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles from its stores that are across the country. the retailer says what this is is a show of respect during this time of national mourning. over at walmart, they're no longer advertising the bushmaster ar-15, that's the one used in the newtown shooting. they're no longer advertising that weapon on the web. but what walmart does say is you can still buy it at select locations. keep in mind, walmart is one of
the biggest gun dealers in the world. and high capacity magazines and guns like semi-automatic military style rifles, they are the fastest growing part of the market. just looking at walmart's website, there are hundreds of weapons listed on there. the bushmaster ar-15 is no longer listed on bass pro shop's site either but you can view it on cabellias. retailers wanting to distance themselves from the tragedy and that's why they're making the changes, don. >> allison, gunmaker stocks tumbling today? >> they are. we're seeing several shares falling. gun stocks. anywhere from 8% to 10%. the big worry here is that not only will you see big regulations go on guns, but people will start to shy away from buying them as well. as far as investors feel as far as because of the tragedy that happened. you look at smith & wesson,
sturm ruger & company, the shares are falling again today. something so controversial, especially at a time like this, youinvestors going to those companies to buy, you see them getting out. >> alison kosik at the new york stock exchange, thank you very much. back to my colleague now, brooke baldwin in atlanta. brooke, i think this is -- this is an interesting water shed moment when it comes to guns in this country, gun legislation. don't know which way it is going to turn out, but it is something interesting to watch over the next few months and next few days and months. >> agreed. don lemon, we'll come back to you momentarily. want to cover other news here including this terrifying, absolutely terrifying ordeal here. five days after the capture, an american journalist and his production crew, they are out safely of syria. today, the journalists spoke of this ordeal. you'll hear it in his own words next. tonight our guest, thomas sargent. nobel laureate in economics, and one of the most cited economists in the world.
richard engle, the chief foreign correspondent for nbc news and his production crew, they are free today. they're free, though, after being held for five days inside of syria. engle spoke with reporters in turkey shortly after he and his team escaped during a deadly fire fight between their kidnappers and syrian rebels. take a listen. >> the last five days were very difficult. we're very happy to be out. we're very happy to be back in turkey. we love being here, we love this country. we appreciate all the help. the last five days are some days that we would rather forget. >> want to bring in hala gorani from washington. and bunch of questions for you.
first, when did engel and his team go missing and do we know who his kidnappers were? >> we heard from him directly a few hours ago. he was actually able to speak live with his colleagues in new york on the "today" show. we got a sense of what happened to him, what must have been an extremely terrifying ordeal for them. they were in northwestern syria, traveling with rebels. at one point more than a dozen armed gunmen, richard engel, said ambushed them and took them into custody, threw them in the back of a pickup truck and drove them to a location. they were blindfolded. they were bound for several days. they were subjected to mock executions. they went through really a terrible time. and this is part of what richard told his colleagues on the "today" show, a few hours ago, about what they went through while they were in captivity. let's listen. >> and they took us to a series
of safe houses and interrogation places. and they kept us blindfolded, bound. we weren't physically beaten or tortured. it was a lot of psychological torture. threats of being killed. they made us choose which one of us would be shot first. when we refused, there were mock shootings. they pretended to shoot ghazi several times. when you're blindfolded, and then they fired the gun up in the air. it can be very traumatic experience. and at end of this, we were being moved to yet another location in the -- around 11:00 last night local time. and as we were moving along the road, the kidnappers came across a rebel checkpoint. something they hadn't expected. and so we were in the back of, like, when you think of as a minivan, and as we were driving along the road, the kidnappers saw this checkpoint, started a gunfight with it, two of the
kidnappers were killed, we climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us. we spent the night with them. we didn't get much sleep. >> well, brooke, you heard it there. essentially they were -- they were rescued by rebels, close to the syrian regime. this is an unbelievably lucky escape. let's be honest here. it could have gone horribly wrong, a million different ways, held captive, kidnapped, in a house, transported to a second location. at that point, running into a rebel checkpoint completely by accident. and getting into a gunfight where two of the kidnappers are killed and yet richard engel and his crew are able to get out. i want to tell our viewers about who richard says he believes were his kidnappers. because for several days, brooke, we thought essentially perhaps it was a rebel unit, a jihadi uniit. he belie he believes it is the pro government militia, who are really making no secret of their
sympathy for the government of bashar al assad. and this is yet another layer of danger to reporting out of that country. >> just to be blindfolded, to think you're being executed multiple times and not happening, they escape. it is a terrifying ordeal and underscores that really, you know, these correspondents and the crew s and radio and tv and the writers, everyone risking their lives to get into syria to tell the story of the syrians being slaughtered month after month. >> and there are more in captivity and ordinary seerians being subjected to kidnappings for ransom. the situation is deteriorating rapidly. >> hala gorani, thank you so much. we'll stay on it and watch what happens in syria. one man across the united states found a unique way to honor the victims in newtown. you'll meet him next. wooohooo....hahaahahaha!
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"the situation room" with wolf blitzer coming up at the top of the hour. >> i went over to the connecticut state police headquarters 45 minutes or so, arrived from where we are here in newtown. i had a chance to speak to lieutenant paul vance. he's become the face of this investigation. he's been doing daily briefings. doesn't do them anymore, he wants to hold back a little bit. i did go to his office. we had a chance to sit down in his office, talk about what's going on. i asked him some sensitive questions, we walked around a little bit, continued the conversation, how this is affecting him personally. listen to this one exchange. was there one moment that stands out in your mind that you'll never forget the rest of your life? >> i think the crime scene itself is something that has made an indelible mark in all of our minds.
it is something that you'll never be able to forget. >> sounds like it is weighing on him. >> that crime scene. when he went into that school, that elementary school, and saw what had happened, moments after it occurred, and he saw those bodies of the young kids, saw the teachers, he says in all of the 39 years he's been a police officer, law enforcement, state trooper, he's never seen anything like that and it will weigh with him for the rest of his life. like everyone. he's been moved. and he also told me something i didn't know, i don't know if you knew this, but the connecticut state police, they assigned a trooper, one trooper to each family of the 26, so that that trooper will provide information, folks won't have to learn sensitive information from the media, for example, they'll be briefed and they'll have a chance to talk to someone. i think it is going to be important, look, you'll never get over this if you're a surviving family of what happened, but they're doing the
best they can. >> i was telling kate, listen, the families are just dealing with tremendous pain right now. and journalists, people covering it, the rescue workers, we're not dealing with anything like that. but just like to be transparent in all honesty, you were kind enough, because you knew last night that we were all affected by this and you took a bunch of us out to dinner last night to give us a brief moment to talk about it and to sit down with each other and commune and that really helped, just talking about it. >> it has been tough on not only the folks here and this beautiful little community, but tough on everybody. law enforcement, obviously the families, toughest on them. and i can't even begin to think what they're going through. everybody has been affected. all of us will be affected the rest of our lives by what we have seen. >> you've been in war zones before. i've covered some really horrific stories. natural disasters, whatever. but when you think about 20 little, really babies, kids, how does that -- >> you see the little pictures of those kids, you know, i can't even look anymore. it is so hard.
>> a school bus went by and we saw kids on it and one of the kids in the front crying, just a moment ago, and as a school bus is going by, the moving trucks with their things to take to the other school going in the opposite direction, and same thing with the funeral procession, moving trucks going by the opposite direction. >> little white coffins, you know, that are burying these kids. it is awful. >> it is. >> brooke, we'll toss it back to you. you saw some of it, the first two funerals were yesterday and you were here for that as well. you saw some of the processions. there is no other way to describe it, horrific, heart breaking. >> it is. not too far from where you two were standing, i sort of bumped into this first responder, he had been a firefighter with sandy hook since high skooch. i started talking to them. they had box after box after box they were opening. inside all these boxes, these cardboard boxes were wreaths. 26 of them, all delivered to the firehouse in sandy hook, by a
stranger. what do you make of the wreaths? just people you don't know, sending you all these wreaths to put up in your town? what would you say to the people of portland, oregon? >> thank you. it makes us feel warm to know this is -- it is amazing that people that far away care about us. >> wreaths sent all the way from oregon. so we actually went back to those boxes there, and the town square, just to see who was the kind soul to send them. and we found him. he is larry twofil joining me on the phone. he owns twofil farm in oregon. larry, why did you do it? >> it wasn't just me. it was our family, employees, a group of us got together on saturday morning after watching these events unfold, and, you know, just really no words to describe this. and we just thought we needed to send a message that we were
hurting and we knew that there was people hurting there. and wanted to send a message to the first responders and the families of the victims that we cared. and our family has been making wreaths for over 100 years. it is something we do, something we're pretty good at. and we felt there was a dire need to do this. so we got together as a family, as a company, first thing saturday morning we went to work on this little project and got it done. >> do you have firefighters in your family? he told me that basically, you know, in came this mass delivery from u.p.s. of all these wreaths. what specifically was it or perhaps it was nothing? perhaps it was simply the story that touched you so much. >> well, it just -- just really no words for it. we're all -- everyone i've talked to is really hurting from this, this tragedy.
and there it is so hard to describe, hard to imagine. i have kids of my own. our family all raised kids in schools and just -- it is just very difficult for everyone. so we just wanted to let people know that we were thinking of them and we really cared and wanted to do something. so that was our way of sending a message. >> and just finally, i'm sure the last thing you intended or i'm sure you meant to do this anonymously and forgive me, i happen to be in perhaps the right spot at the right time, i saw these firefighters unpacking these wreaths, and, you know, and in talking to this one firefighter, you know, just so simply saying thank you, just making him so warm knowing that someone, all the way across the country, cared so much. if anyone from sandy hook firehouse is listening, what would you want them to know? >> hey, i just think we're just like the whole rest of the country. and a lot of the world. we care. we do really care about them. and, you know, they're in our thoughts and prayers and we wish them the best going forward. >> we join you in that same message. larry, thank you so much.
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off your pics and the fallout from the shooting in connecticut is hurting gun manufacturers. first, two weeks to go before the country falls over a fiscal cliff, and negotiations are picking up steam in washington with three meetings in eight days between president obama and house speaker john boehner. the president has been insisting on letting taxes rise on those making more than $250,000 a year. the top 2% of earners. boehner agreed to let taxes rise on people making a million or more a year and the president's counteroffer, raise taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year. for some perspective, the top 1% of earners in the united states make $375,000 or more a year. >> i think we all know that every income tax filer in america is going to pay a higher rate come january 1st unless congress acts. i believe it is important that we protect as many american taxpayers as we can.
and our plan b would protect american taxpayers who make a million dollars or less. and have all of their current rates extended. >> plan b is the idea that they'll put through legislation. while speaker boehner should be commended for considering tax hikes on a token few, what should we make of arguments from his republican base which say any tax hike on the rich will hurt the economy? well, conservatives insist that once taxes are raised, the wealthy won't use their disposable income on spending in a way that stimulates the economy. we all lose, they say, i've got news for them, doesn't matter whether you raise taxes on incomes of a million a year or $400,000 a year. people in those high income brackets are not going to pull back their spending just because they see their marginal tax rates, the taxes on every dollar above the base line, go up by a few percentage points. there is a cutoff point below which we all spend the bulk of our money on life's necessary sys. food, shelter, education and investing for retirement.
let's say for argument sake that is $250,000 a year, which might be generous. above and beyond that level of income, you're likely saving, investing or spending on life's extras, not the necessities. might be private schooling or travel or leisure or entrepreneurial pursuits. while the rich may not want the taxes on every dollar above $400,000 raised by 4.6 percentage points there is no strong argument it will slow down how folks earning that much money here in the u.s. spend their money in a way that benefits the economy. doesn't mean we should increase their taxes. i'm just saying don't put too much credence in the argument that it will hurt the economy. on the money menu today, americans are paying less at the pump. the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline is $2.24. cheaper oil from the united states and canada is coming online. toyota is in trouble again with u.s. authorities after failing to report a safety defect in the
2010 lexus 350. the japanese automaker agreed to pay a record $17.4 million fine for not coming clean on the defect with a floor mat. now, it is the largest fine alo allowed for single investigation. the mat allegedly trapped the gas pedal down, causing unwanted acceleration. toyota finally initiated a recall in june. that wasn't soon enough for authorities. next month, instagram will start selling photos that members post on the site for use in ads. the photo sharing site says it is changing its terms of service on january 17th, allowing it to give content to third parties. for example, instagram could let a major retail chain buy photos of people shopping in their stores, to run in an ad. the move comes months after facebook took over instagram. it is often questioned on privacy issues. the fallout from the mass shooting at a connecticut elementary school targets the gun industry.
pressure is mounting in washington to tighten federal gun laws just days after the tragedy. but gun manufacturers are also starting to see the commercial fallout from the newtown shooting. dick's sporting goods, a chain with stores across the country, announced it is suspending sales of all so-called modern sporting rifles from its stores and removing them, quote, out of respect for the victims and their families. that refers to semi-automatic rifles like the bushmaster used by the gunman in the attack. walmart removed a semi-automatic rifle made by the same maker as that of the bushmaster from its website, though it continues to sell the firearm in store. investment firm cerberus, which owns bushmaster's maker, freedom group, said today that it wants to get out of the gun business. meanwhile, shares of smith & wesson, one of the biggest publicly traded gunmakers tumbled 20% over the last three days. cabellia's has fallen 12%. gunmaker sturm ruger is about 15% lower. over the last few years, virtually nothing has hurt the gun industry in this country,
including numerous mass shooting incidents. this one, though, may be different. and it is something we'll all be watching. from new york, i'm ali velshi. same time tomorrow. hing, isn't a thing at all? it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency. the ambulance will talk to patient records will talk to doctors about saving lives. it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. the next big thing? we're going to wake the world up. ♪ and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work.
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elementary has also affected movie releases. django unchained was supposed to be released today. however its distributor released this statement, quote, in this time of national mourning we have decided to forego our national event. private screening for the cast and crew contains bloody scenes of shootings. the director and his stars addressed friday's shooting and movie containing extreme violence. >> it's just a horrible tragedy. what are you going to say about it? i mean, it's horrible. but at the same time, no, i don't think it has anything to do with them. but this has gone all the way back down to shakespeare's days.
>> what i consider the really significant and dangerous aspect is the sense of -- the sensationism of it and movies don't sensationalize. they just tell it it. who sensationalizes it? the media? so we have to look at them separately and not muddle it all up and point fingers at the opt sit side. i find that very important. >> there is another film featured here. it's called "jack reacher." its filming is postponed
it's stunning. are there notes attached to the teddy bear. >> there's so many coming. >> garbage bags and garbage bags of teddy bears as gifts to the children in the community? >> yep. >> and so what have you done with them so far? >> we've been trying to distribute them to local church groups. we were down at the newtown youth academy. they had a bump of the kids there and distributed them there. >> and those two volunteer firefighters i spoke to said the letters and cards and teddy bears that they are all getting in the distribution, that's actually helping them heal as well. healing, don lemon. healing. not moving on but moving forward. that is what newtown is now doing. >> reporter: yeah. and listen, it's going to take some time. we can only just imagine. i can't really imagine what is
going on but i can show you here, the outpouring here. things have just been stacked on top of things. there have been teddy bears and flowers. they have erected a tent, put up an angel and a wreath. you can see people lighting candles. a rocking horse that someone has put here and put to all of the classmates. emily, with love from all of our classmates and a cross where people are continuing to come out to show their support and love. as you said, brooke, healing. healing. it's going to take a while but we pray that these folks will heal in time. >> don lemon, thank you for your coverage there. thank you for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin. we'll take you back to newtown with wolf blitze "the situation room" starts right after this. vr is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families.
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